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Local History

There's always a story in the stones. This is one way of telling it.

With the first diplomats from England in 1653 came Anglican worship to Sweden. Sent by Oliver Cromwell, Bulstrode Whitelock brought not one but two chaplains and services were held in the ambassador's home in Stockholm.

Later in that century, an Anglo-French Hugenot congregation formed with a French pastor, holding services in both French and English. In 1741 they petitioned the King of Sweden (Frederick I) for the right to worship publicly, and the king accepted the petition since a Swedish church existed already in London under Royal patronage. 

The church was supported by the Poor Box (dating from 1706) into which every English ship captain calling at Stockholm contributed 24 riksdaler (until 1871).

 

A Building of their Own

In 1849, under the oversight of the Bishop of London, the first regularly ordained English clergyman, Chaplain Frederick Spurrell, came to Stockholm. 

After about ten years, the congregation began to collect funds to build a church of its own. With generous grants from the British Government a site was purchased in Rörstrandsgatan in Normalm (later renamed Wallingatan). 

The foundation stone of the English Church of St. Peter and St. Sigfrid was laid and dedicated on 7 April 1863 and the church was completed in 1866 and consecrated by an American Bishop, Rt. Rev'd Dr Henry Whitehouse. 

Many Swedish bishops were present, including the Archbishop and several diocesan bishops (Lund, Karlstad, Linköping).

Services were held on a regular basis, though there were winters when the cost of heating the church forced it to close for the cold months.  

 

The Church that Ran Away?

Rörstrandsgatan was thought by some influential church members to be an undesirable location, with several brothels, a jail and a popular pub in the vicinity, and it was proposed that the whole building be moved to a new location. 

The efforts of the Swedish Crown Princess Margaret, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, made that move possible. 

Stone by stone in the year 1913, the church was moved and reconstructed in an old Swedish military cemetary. The reconstruction was supervised by a Swedish architect A.E. Melander.  

The vestry was added, the nave extended, and the entire move took a remarkable nine months. 

 

Looking Around

The church is built in Neo-Gothic style, originally under the direction of Scottish architect James Souttar. The external walls are made of reddish sandstone from Södertälje, the inner walls are also sandstone, from Motala. 

The vaults of the tower are made of stone, and the rest of the church is vaulted in wood. 

The "flying angel" weathervane existed on the original church and has recently been restored, after a storm brought it down some years ago.

The Organ in current use was built in 1994 at Ålems Orgelverkstad, Småland, by organ builder Sune Fondell. It has a tracker action, with one manual and ten and a half stops, with 650 pipes, having a mechanical system between keys and pipes.

Behind the Altar is a triptych from Oberammergau, carved by Peter Rendl. It was a gift from England. The hanging crucifix came from Wellingborough, UK, and was dedicated in 1970.

The large west window was dedicated to Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden. It depicts the life, work and faith of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland.

Several of the other stained glass windows were made by William Morris and Co, London, and one set of windows was designed by Einar Forseth, famous for his mosaics in the Town Hall of Stockholm.

The cope in the Lady Chapel is from the mid-18th century, Italian embroidered silk, and was presented to the church in 1923.  It was misplaced and nearly sold as a bedpread at a church bazaar, but rescued and restored, and put on display in 1995.

The pews have carved letters at their ends spelling out the first and last words of the hymn, Adeste Fideles.

The hall attached to the church was built in the early 1980s and dedicated by H.R.H. Princess Margaret on 22 September 1985. 

Unfortunately, due to escalating building costs and decreasing revenues, the Hall had to be sold in 1991, and is now owned by Blåbandsrörelse, who generously allow the church to use it on Sunday mornings and other occasions.

 

Today's Congregation

Today the congregation is a thriving family of Anglicans and others from around the world - a microcosm of the worldwide church. 

We gather from all over Stockholm - and beyond - bringing our experience, our beliefs, our stories to enrich the life and worship of the church as we learn to live well with God and with each other.